Diet aid lifts Scotia hopes

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The Independent Online
SCOTIA HOLDINGS, the biotechnology group, plans to sign a multi- million deal with a major food company for the worldwide rights to a revolutionary slimming ingredient, writes Francesco Guerrera.

The Stirling-based company said yesterday that a number of food multinationals were vying for the licence to use Olibra, which can stifle appetite and be a useful slimming aid, especially for snack-junkies.

Olibra, which is derived from palm and oat oil, can be found in the Swedish yoghurt Maval. Scotia wants to roll it out worldwide and extend its use in soups and salad dressings.

Industry sources said that Scotia had been "deluged" with interest from food giants - tipped to include Unigate, Danone of France, DelMonte and Procter & Gamble - since Olibra was launched earlier this year. Unigate division St Ivel is already working with Scotia to launch Olibra desserts in Ireland, France and Italy.

Analysts believe that Olibra could change the fortunes of the small Scottish company. They estimate that the worldwide sales of Olibra could net Scotia around pounds 60m a year within three or four years.

Scotia yesterday reported a fall in the interim pre-tax loss to pounds 11.1m from pounds 12.8m.

Investment, page 23